Heritage Testing LimitedTest For Lead

Commercial Laboratory Lead Testing Services
from Heritage Testing Limited

UK and EU regulations on blood lead levels

General symptoms of lead poisoning are non-specific so can easily be attributed to other factors. Blood and urine tests are used for actual diagnosis of lead poisoning, whilst very high levels over a long period of time can settle in bone and become visible on X-Rays.

The World Health Organisation estimates that lead exposure accounts for 0.6% of global disease.

There is no known safe level of lead in blood but governments have defined levels of particular concern for particular sets of people.

Whilst still a member state of the European Union, the UK is required to implement blood lead level limits that are at least as rigorous as agreed in Directive 98/24/EC Surveillance.

Under the UK Control of Lead At Work (CLAW) regulations, workers involved with lead, or have a blood lead concentration equal or greater than the relevant medical surveillance level are required to have regular checks on their blood lead level. A blood lead level test should be performed before a worker starts working with lead, but must be within 14 working days of commencing such work.  Young people and women of reproductive capacity must have checks at least every three months and for any other employee should be every six months but can be reduced to an annual check if on the previous two consecutive occasions showed a blood lead level below 30 µg/dl.

Under UK CLAW Regulations, Atomic Absorption Spectrometry is prescribed for measuring levels of lead in blood and urine.

If you are concerned about lead exposure, speak to your GP or employer.

Lead in Blood Testing

Lead in Blood action and suspension levels under the UK Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW) compared to EU Directive 98/24/EC Surveillance action level:-

Employee UK Medical Surveillance Level EU Health Surveillance Level UK Action Level UK Suspension Level EU Binding Biological Limit
Woman of reproductive capacity 20 µg/dl 40 µg/dl 25 µg/dl 30 µg/dl 70 µg/dl
Young person 35 µg/dl 40 µg/dl 50 µg/dl
Any other employee 50 µg/dl 60 µg/dl

If a workers blood lead level reaches or exceeds the relevant Action Level, the employer must attempt to determine the reason(s) for the high lead level and seek to improve working practices. If a workers blood lead level reaches or exceeds the relevant Suspension Level, a relevant doctor will be required to certify whether that worker should be suspended from working with lead and the employer must review the risk assessment and preventative measures, taking into account any advice from a relevant doctor or by the Health and Safety Executive. The EU Binding Biological Limit is taken to mean Suspension Level.

Lead in Urine Testing

The UK Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW) also provides Lead in Urine action and suspension levels:-

Employee UK Medical Surveillance Level UK Suspension Level
Woman of reproductive capacity 20 µg Pb/g creatinine 25 µg Pb/g creatinine
Any other employee 40 µg Pb/g creatinine 110 µg Pb/g creatinine


Heritage Testing Limited can assist with:-

  • Identifying presence of lead and other toxic metals in paint particularly older paint undercoats
  • Detection of lead in dust
  • Lead abatement – verification that a contractor has not left a building or surrounding area in a contaminated condition after refurbishment works
  • Advice on how to manage the risks associated with lead
  • Advice on cleaning of lead contaminated sites e.g. following inadvertent sanding of lead paint

For more information contact Heritage Testing Limited on 01273 891 785 or E-Mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Paint Toxicity and Risk

An in depth article on paint toxicity and risk assessment, written by us for The Building Conservation Directory 2018.

Lead Safe World Partner